Counting all the migrants in and then counting them all out seems to be something we can't do at any cost that is proportionate to what the tax-payer is likely to want to cough up. Decent economic and social policies which are aimed at ensuring that immigration turns into decent jobs, better public services and fairer outcomes for all hasn't even been tried yet. It's high time it was.
The UK Border Agency is once again being slammed by the Home Affairs Select Committee in their report out today. And rightly so.
The country has changed hugely, trust in institutions has fallen, a job for life is an idea of the past while the future looks deeply uncertain. It is no wonder that many people feel anxious and insecure. Addressing those insecurities does not mean abandoning pro-immigration principles or pandering to anyone - it means having the humility to accept that many others see things differently, seeking to understand why they do and trying to change their minds.
If anything, the timing of the Nobel Peace prize is ironic. If the European Union is serious about sticking to the values and the principles upon which it was formed, it must recognise that bringing unity to a country where the memories of civil war are all too recent is paramount. Austerity measures will do nothing but create unrest and divide country, allowing parties such as Golden Dawn to rise up through the cracks.
The abrupt re-imposition of immigration controls on EU nationals in the way envisioned in Mr Jackson's bill seems to be a terribly harsh cure for whatever illnesses are believed to arise from the current exercise of free movement rights.
British historians have probably enjoyed 2012. Two big set pieces, the Olympic Games and Diamond Jubilee, proved the ideal invitation to reflect on where we have come from, who we are now, and where we are going
Despite public perceptions that migrants have had a substantial and negative impact on wages, there is little quantitative evidence to date that suggests this. What is clear, however, is that migrants have increasingly come to dominate certain sectors and sub-sectors of the economy such as cleaning, construction and agriculture.
Consistent academic reports on the benefits of immigration have failed, over the history of the post-war political arrangement, in almost every liberal democracy, to produce a significant shift in public opinion.
Cuts in the provision of good quality, affordable ESOL are leaving the people most at risk for isolation without access to language training, which facilitates integration.
Even this country's most illustrious universities rely on international students for the intellectual and cultural value they bring from overseas. Many of this country's top universities trade on their reputations as global leaders in research and education.
We can sum up the British view of migration as "fewer, but better". It is clear that the British would like less migration, but it is also clear that they do not regard all migrants as cause for concern.
For many UK universities it is now International welcome week, a period where our centres of Higher and Further education have an opportunity to impress those students travelling in from all over the world whilst helping them feel at ease in their strange new environment.
So, my logic tells me, the country has to as well. Interest rates, quantitive easing and stuff (yes, 'stuff') might paper over the cracks, but for the national bank balance to improve we need to bring more money in from the outside. From overseas.
The immigration debate is often reduced to a mundane battle of statistics. Though just focusing on the economic aspect of immigration does not do nearly enough justice to the scale of the problem.
if London Metropolitan University failed to keep records of its students, then it should be held liable. Though one can also perhaps sympathise with the Universities based in a country where carrying and proving of id is considered a civil liberty issue.
With the economy persistently weak, there is a growing consensus among economists that premature austerity has done considerable unnecessary damage, and that there is a strong case for slowing fiscal consolidation.